International fashion trade shows as knowledge creation platforms for microenterprises
Journal of Global Fashion Marketing
Objective of the Study The prevailing view in the literature is that trade shows act as a platform for promotional and selling activities. However, there is increased recognition that trade shows are more sources of information and contacts than places where purchases are made and thus act as an organizational context for learning and interaction. In this study, the organizational knowledge creation process of microenterprises exhibiting in fashion trade shows are explored. Specifically, this
... esis examines trade shows as knowledge creation platforms and how knowledge processes are manifested through different trade show activities. Research Method The research, qualitative in nature, was developed by employing two methods of gathering data. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to gain understanding of the trade show experience from the viewpoint of exhibitors and visitors as well as the knowledge creation and sharing processes related to the trade shows. This data was complemented by ethnographic methods employed at international B2B fashion trade shows during Paris, Copenhagen and New York Fashion Week, where fashion trade show participants were observed. Findings The study shows that knowledge is created through observing and interpreting the trade show environment and other actors within it. Moreover, knowledge processes are embedded in the informal social interaction that takes place at trade shows. Here, the participants absorb and adopt industry specific practices and routines through the physical proximity with other industry actors. The role of exhibiting at trade shows evolves alongside with the development of the company: trade show participation is integral in the early stages of the brand development as trade shows are a representation of fashion markets where each actor of the industry re-establishes themselves, making exhibiting at a trade show both the medium and the message.